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WBC orders Gary Russell Jr. vs. Joseph Diaz Jr.

Russell has fought just three times since 2014

Gary Russell Jr. v Patrick Hyland Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. has been roused from his slumber for his annual title defense, beginning negotiations with mandatory challenger JoJo Diaz Jr. As usual, the two have thirty days to reach an agreement before a purse bid is called.

The fight is being targeted for May or June, possibly on the undercard of Keith Thurman’s May 19th return at Barclays Center.

Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KO) has spent 13 cumulative rounds in the ring since December 2014, knocking out Jhonny Gonzalez, Patrick Hyland, and Oscar Escandon with at least twelve months between each defense. It’s honestly staggering even by Haymon standards. For reference, Diaz Jr. (26-0, 14 KO) has fought twelve times in that same span, most recently smashing Victor Terrazas in three last month.

Diaz is untested, but looks to be the stiffest challenge of Russell’s reign thus far, certainly a more worthy opponent than the likes of Hyland. Should be a decent scrap.

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